By Scott Tibbs, October 19, 2012
Last week during a chat on HeraldTimesOnline.com, I asked Mark Stoops (incumbent Monroe County Commissioner who is running for the Indiana State Senate) whether he would be open to taking away corporate welfare for Planned Parenthood of Indiana, especially since they have a profit of over $900,000. His response was a predictably partisan attack on abortion opponents. Interestingly enough, in the middle of his diatribe he did not actually say whether he would vote to continue to fund Planned Parenthood or not.
I expected Stoops to disagree with defunding Planned Parenthood, but I was taken aback by the excessively partisan and aggressive nature of his response. I was surprised that a state senate candidate would so readily insult so many voters in his own district. Let's break down his response.
Planned Parenthood provides a vital service to low income women (and men, Scott) and access to preventative health treatment that is not available to people without health insurance
Is there no way to provide these services other than going through this nation's #1 abortion provider? Of course there is. PP apologists act as if Planned Parenthood is the only organization capable of providing services. Right here in Monroe County, we have county government's Futures Family Planning Clinic that provides the services Stoops mentioned in his response. We also have the Volunteers in Medicine clinic.
The extreme right's attack on Planned Parenthood is simply because they believe that government and religions have the right to tell women what they can do with their own bodies.
Rather than actually engaging on the issue of abortion, Stoops instead threw out partisan talking points. Is this what we need in a state senator? No, Mr. Stoops, no one is telling women what they can do with their bodies. Taking away Planned Parenthood's corporate welfare will not in any way infringe on a woman's alleged "right" to have an abortion. What it will do is protect Indiana taxpayers from being forced to fund an abortion provider. Stoops is not pro-choice in his response. This is a pro-abortion position.
I believe that it is un-American to think that a woman's body suddenly becomes the property of the government or her neighbor's religion the moment she conceives.
Again, more partisan talking points. This is what I would expect of an abortion rights advocate in a debate on a discussion forum, not a state senate candidate. Does Stoops realize he is insulting thousands of voters in his own district? It is a very unprofessional response that is unworthy of the Indiana State Senate.
But to answer Stoops on substance, no one is saying that a woman's body is the "property" of the government or any religion. What abortion opponents are saying is that she should not be permitted to murder her child. The unborn child is a person who also has a right to bodily autonomy and it should not be illegal to kill that child.
Here is where Stoops' response gets strange.
I also believe the government has no say in who marries who. That is a religious or personal matter between free individuals. The Indiana legislature is pushing to include discrimination in our state constitution by saying that marriage is only between a man and a women. We need to keep this institutionalized discrimination out of our state laws. Vote Democrat up and down the ticket!
What on earth does same-sex marriage have to do with government funding for Planned Parenthood?
First, the only way the marriage amendment will become part of the state constitution is if the people of Indiana approve such an amendment. Adding an amendment to the state constitution would not fundamentally change the situation for same-sex couples in the state, nor would it add any "discrimination" because the state already does not recognize same-sex marriage. Furthermore, any same-sex couple in the state can get married right now if they choose to do so - they just will not have their "marriage" recognized by state government.
But again, this has nothing to do with my question. Stoops is simply trying to excite the Democratic base to vote for him by bringing up a completely unrelated issue after his partisan diatribe about abortion "rights" and his attack on social conservatives. It was unprofessional and not worthy of the state senate. Surely the Democrats could have come up with someone who is more articulate and less confrontational who can represent all voters in the Indiana State Senate.
Since they did not do that, the choice is clear. Vote for Reid Dallas.